Russia has been under fire from several world powers and public figures ever since President Vladimir Putin spearheaded new anti-gay laws in the country. Since then, many have feared for the possible fates of any LGBT and pro-gay athletes who compete in Russia during the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, with many supposedly facing the threat of being arrested, fined and deported for any gay or pro-gay displays. However, Putin recently spoke with The Associated Press and Russia’s state Channel 1 television about the controversy and rattled off several homophobic statements while trying to assure that Russia isn’t homophobic.
“People of untraditional sexual orientation are in no way infringed upon, either in a professional sense or in terms of salary. I assure you that I work with these people, I sometimes award them with state prizes or decorations for their achievements in various fields,” Putin said. “We have absolutely normal relations, and I don’t see anything out of the ordinary here.”
Putin also defended his nation and his policies by claiming that Russians loved composer Tchaikovsky despite the fact that he was supposedly gay.
“They say Pyotr Chaikovsky was a homosexual,” Putin continued. “However we love him, not for that [but because] he was a great musician, and we all love his music.”
Putin claimed that Olympians need not worry about being persecuted during the games and argued that his new anti-gay laws are simply a tactic to promote population growth in his nation.
“Russia is living through difficult times in terms of demography and we are interested in full-fledged families to produce more children,” Putin said. “I think the authors of the law proceeded primarily from the necessity to resolve demographic problems and were far from being guided by the idea of infringing on somebody’s rights.”
However, Human Rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina, a board member of the Memorial Society, an influential Russian human rights group, said Putin is lying about Russia’s growing issue with homophobia and anti-gay oppression.
“Homophobia is being sown and nursed in the country on a large scale, officially approved from the very top and backed by restrictive and anti-democratic legislation produced by parliament,” Gannushkina said. “The Kremlin is getting more and more xenophobic, trying to direct the growing general discontent in the country towards some vulnerable groups, like gays for instance, who cannot even defend themselves publicly because any mention of their homosexuality can now be regarded as gay propaganda, punishable by law.”
Sadly, Putin isn’t the only homophobic politician around. Check out some other homophobic politicians below. – nicholas robinson